Written 26th August
And we'll all get to Scotland at the same time as we're all traveling in the same little van :)
I will say this now and up front: I am not going to do Scotland any justice here. It is glorious and beautiful with a long history crammed full of outlaw heroes and famous battles and haunting castles and sadly we only have time for a whistlestop tour on this occasion. And with our current re-starting issues, I have had to curb my usual "oh oh oh stop it's pretty I want a picture" habit too, so some of the best scenes and places we have passed are either uncaptured or seen through the fly splattered windscreen. Which is a real shame but there we go, can't be helped. It should be enough to wet your appetite.
It didn't start gloriously though.
But we got there in glorious sunshine - which sadly disappeared before the photos whilst we had a celebratory cuppa - with its lighthouse and view of the isles.
Reporting pedantry obliges me to clarify that, according to Wikipedia that well known repository of truth and fact, the westernmost point is in fact Corrachadh Mor about a kilometre to the south. I know, I know, that's no middle of the night nine kilometre arctic expedition to actual north and in the spirit of the quest we should have actually gone there, but when we looked at an OS map in the visitor centre, there was no marked path and much of the way seemed to be across marshy ground at sea level. And then it started to rain. So this is as west as we will go.
Three down, one to go!
Back on the road then, after a tactical bit of sitting around until it was dark, which made it much, much easier to see when someone was coming in the other direction but also gave the added frisson of danger and excitement of unpredictable deer hopping over fences and into the road... There should definitely be a Scottish Highlands version of Grand Theft Auto or similar:) and so to a random layby stop where we awoke to fantastic sunshine.
And a much better day weatherwise yesterday - hurrah! Along the Road to the Isles
past Eilean Donan castle, sitting regally between Loch Alsh and Loch Duich
After a short detour to Plockton - dubbed Scotland's prettiest village,
but sadly neither very small van friendly nor adequately captured here -
we washed up on the shores of Loch Torridon
at Shieldag for a much needed break from driving and a fabulous loch view,
before a heading on through Wester Ross to Gairloch
and an epic drive along the coast to a spot recommended by Brian high above Corrieshalloch Gorge to watch the sun set orange against a green and purple land and sky.
And happily another glorious, glorious day today,
over some fabulous roads with the peaks and valleys of the North West Highlands spread out before us under a vast expanse of blue sky.
And our first John O'Groats signpost! We're nearly there!
It is simply beautiful up here. Not as high as Norway, there are no snowcapped peaks here, but instead the most glorious palate of colours . Whereas Norway is a stark contrast of deep blue sky, mirrored by sparkling lakes, set in lush green flora and punctuated by grey craggy rocks, Scotland is an endless rumpled blanket, woven together in a natural heathery tweed of seamlessly blended ambers, oranges, greens and purples. A very different epic but epic nonetheless.
And right up here in the far north, the most fabulous expanses of fine white sandy beaches at the top of the world.
So, here we are, stopped for lunch at Durness. We had planned to potter along and stop up here somewhere before a grand finale and triumphal arrival at John O'Groats tomorrow but according to the tourist office it is set for horrendous rain tomorrow - the sort you southerners have apparently been having all week - so we are going to head right on there now.
to be continued...